Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Big Cake Mistake

I just returned to my big empty house on Staten Island. It's nice to be back in my own space, even if I do resent not living in Manhattan. For the past three days, I was staying with my Father in his decent, but claustrophobic Harlem apartment, mainly so that I could cook for him. He asked me to bake him a cake, which I reluctantly did without my mixer or any of my piping bags or tips.

Instead, I just mixed the batter with a whisk. It was a very promising Lime-Scented Strawberry Cake, and I made a simple strawberry buttercream. I macerated some lovely strawberries in a bit of sugar to extract a gorgeous red syrup from the fruit. Then I folded the strawberries in with the buttercream, which unfortunately became runny because of the unbearably humid weather. No worries; I just decided to call it a glaze instead. After trimming the dome off the cake, I basted the it with the strawberry syrup using a pastry brush to create a crumb coat before drizzling it with the now-called Strawberry-glaze, and adorning it with the prettiest strawberries from the basket.

To my horror, the cake was undermixed, and the cake had ribboned and clumped in the center. It tasted fine, and was fully cooked, but the texture was pretty unpleasant to bite into. Surprisingly, I didn't beat myself up too much for it, because there was a perfectly valid excuse in that I didn't have my mixer with me. Dad didn't want to touch it, and neither did his roommate S.

Hours later, after Dad went to sleep and S had left to go peddle his music, I snuck back into the kitchen to devour the rejected cake. I poured a tall glass of milk, and cut a small piece for myself. As I chewed, I began to get angrier and more critical of my earlier mistake of undermixing the batter. I cut another small piece, then another, and another, and another. Before I realized it, the cake was reduced to a few scattered pink crumbs on the plate, and my stomach was a distended eyesore.

I thought about all of the pimples that would pop up all over my face and back, and shuddered at the thought of all the sugar, fat, and calories I had just consumed. After chugging nearly a quart of ice water, I washed the plate and wiped off the table as my anxiety level skyrocketed. When I had completely covered my tracks, I ran to the bathroom to get rid of the cake.

The next morning, Dad asked me what happened to the cake. I told him that I threw it out, and emptied the trash into the downstairs bin. He knew I was lying; We've been through this many times before. Brushing off a wave of anger and regret, I asked him what he wanted for dinner...

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